Something, About The Ocean... Magpies, installment 16

October 13, 2009

Since 1999, which was the year God supernaturally called my wife, another couple and I to stretch into the rural community that has become our home, we have had visitors. We have had a lot of visitors with the same question. “How do we start something like yours?”

Our first question is always the same. “Why?”

Really. Aren’t there enough ministries, drop in centers, churches, schools and businesses already? There are a million hits on Google when you type in “church planting”. What makes us think that the one we start will be all that important? Isn’t there someone, somewhere else who is searching high and low for a person who shares their vision that could come alongside them? I’ve prayed that very prayer everyday since we started. Why do we feel that we all need to start designer lifestyles? Given that 4 out of five start-up ministries are destined to fail, why would anyone desire the heartache?

Sometimes I wish the Bible told more about the emotional tumult of its leaders. I know the outcomes of the struggles, but many times wonder if the main characters thought the victories were worth the sacrifices made.

We all love the stories of David. He was after all, the shepherd boy chosen as king. He was the giant slayer. He was the warrior poet, the slingshot rebel with a song. He was the man close to God’s heart. I can imagine him as an old man. If you mention the names of Eleazar, Josheb Bashebeth or Shammah he smiles a sideways smile, looks up at you with a spark in his eye that is all mischievous thirteen year old and rattle off the stories of their trip to the well in Bethlehem. He laughs hard as he tells about the looks on the Philistines’ faces as these warlords slaughter their way into the city, just three of them, and fill a skin with water, then kill their way out.

As you ask about Goliath he looks back at the day that launched him as a celebrity. His eyes grow fierce as he relives the anger that overcame him. “so rash in those days… Thought I could do anything. And I guess I about did that day.”

You hear him explain why he picked up five stones and the mockery that went with it. “Four brothers. He had four brothers. I knew that if I killed him I would have his family to deal with. You should have heard them yelling and laughing. And then the stone hit him. Best shot I ever made. Jehovah must have wanted that stone there. And the look on his face… priceless. He looked shocked. He knew it was all wrong. When he fell it sounded like a tree hitting the ground.” And then the story is gone. Clouded over by some other thought.

“Absalom,” he whispers. “I was never the kind of father he needed. I hurt him. You have to realize that I was just a kid when they anointed me king. Then we were on the run for years. I, uh, I never learned how to raise a family with the pressures of a kingdom on my back. Absalom was a beautiful boy, but… It all cost so much.“ David’s voice trails off.

You would never ask him if it was all worth it. That question would be far too naïve. The emotions would be too complex. Even David may not know. So he wrote poems to release the tears. You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. 12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me. 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help me. Psalm 40:11-13

There are three truths that we have learned while directing a brand new ministry concept. Some came from mentors and sages at the horizon of their own treks. Some lessons we have attained by experiencing them through weighed guesses. Some of these truths have come through our mistakes. I would always prefer to learn the hard lessons at the feet of someone else. What I hear from many pioneers is that they would rather learn everything themselves while journeying.

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